In every state throughout the country, a network of jails and prisons house prisoners, both convicted of a crime and awaiting trial, in an effort to both rehabilitate them and to help keep them out of the community at large. Florida is no different; in every county, and in many cities, jails and prisons house the inmate population of Florida. In this article, we will go over some of the details about Florida prisons and jails, as well as some of the issues that affect them.
An individual can find themselves in jail or prison for a wide variety of reasons., even if they have not yet been convicted of a crime. For example, when police arrest someone for drinking and driving, they will be forced to stay in the local jail until they have sobered up and have faced potential arraignment. Individuals whom were arrest through an active arrest warrant will also have to wait in prison until their arraignment, at which point they may be released under bail. Of course, individuals that have been convicted of major, and even some minor, crimes will find themselves in prison.
Issues Florida prisoners face
One of the most significant struggles that a prisoner, regardless of the level of their incarceration, must face is the removal of their rights. Although certain rights are guaranteed even in prison, many others are taken away, and some are so difficult to uphold that they are lost to all but some prisoners.
A number of different legal institutions exist solely to help uphold and defend the rights of persons currently serving time in prison.
According to the Florida Justice Institute, one of these institutions, Florida has the third largest prisoner population in the country, and includes as many as 102,000 persons. Housing these prisoners costs the state of Florida $2.7 billion annually. Some of the primary focuses of the Florida Justice Institute include litigating things such as the indifference to serious medical or mental health needs, the usage of excessive force, unconstitutional conditions of confinement, the censorship of prisoners and of their religious freedom, wrongful death, and even medical malpractice. You can locate the home page of the Florida Justice Institute at https://www.floridajusticeinstitute.org/.
There are a number of other groups that focus on these issues at the national level, such as the Equal Justice Initiative (http://eji.org/about-eji), and the Prisoners’ Rights branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (https://www.aclu.org/issues/prisoners-rights?redirect=prisoners-rights).
Statistics of Florida prison and jail inmates
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, the total inmate population in Florida between 2009-2010 was 103,232 persons. Of these, 93% were male, and the largest age group was 35-49 at 36.6%, followed by 25-34 at 31.3%. Of these, 20.1% of prisoners had been in jail before, and 10.6% of the prisoners had been in jail twice before.
Between this same period of time, 48.8% of the Florida prison population had been incarcerated due to violent crimes, 23.5% for property crimes, 19% for drug crimes, and an additional 8.7% for other crimes. These stats were provided by the Florida Department of Corrections Overview page at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/annual/0910/ar-prisons.html.
As of June 30, 2010, a total of 394 convicts were awaiting execution or appeal on Florida’s death row. 61.9% of these persons were white. The average number of years served by death row inmates before they are executed is 12.7 years, with a total of 14.3 years between the time that their crime was committed and they were ultimately executed. The average age of those persons that have been executed is 43, although the average age at the time of their crime was 28.7. These statistics come from the Florida Department of Corrections web site at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/annual/0910/ar-im-death-row.html.
You can find an index of all of the statistics that are provided by the Florida Department of Corrections at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/annual/0910/index.html.